Monday, March 22, 2010

Whose Waterloo?!?

The Right Wing pundits have been proclaiming that if the HCR bill passes, it will be the end of the majority for the Dems. Conservative David Frum seems to think, at this point, maybe it is the other way around:
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.
His #1 is along the lines of what I have been trying to point out. 6+ months is an eternity in Politics. As the economy continues to improve, and the tangible benefits of HCR begin to take effect, we'll see the Left in a much better place than we do, now. Remember, a lot of the down polling is the volatile base of the Left. Expect that to re-solidify now that HCR is passed.

He also point out another aspect of the GOP strategy that confused me:
A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.
The Just say No strategy, failed two fold. The Left was able to still pass the agenda, and the Right marginalized their ability to clean up the messy parts of the legislation. The parts where there are legitimate concerns. But they wanted none of that, they wanted America to fail and then play the blame game on the current administration. It didn't work, and it just may cost them as the Tea Partiers splinter their base.

See, like I have been sharing all along, the bill had more GOP finger prints on it than Democratic ones. The Memory of the elephant isn't as good as it once was, and Frum wants his peers to know that:
Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.
And the final affirmation of reality comes in the closing:
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
What voices is he talking about, well the ones who have vested interest in A) The success of the Bill and B) the failure of the GOP to stop it. Ironically, that is fire breathing talkers like Rush Limbaugh:
Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.
People scoffed at me when the likes of Rush Limbaugh were more of an asset than an enemy in the ideological fight. At least Frum sees it for what it is.

Read the whole thing!


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